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Welcome to the book blog, featuring reviews for teens from InfoSoup librarians and users!

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Author: Russell Freedman

My grandfather served in the Navy in WWI. Freedman's account of the brutality of trench warfare and the tremendous loss of life is chilling. Sure gives me a better picture of this time in history.  Hard to image that 650 million men fought in this war and that over half of them sustained casualties of war: either death, injury, missing in action, prisoner of war, etc.  Particularly interesting is the changes during this war in technologies used in warfare..... communication radios, tanks, airplanes, artillery, and the horrible chemicals used by both sides.  For those who like to read about war history, this is a satisfying read.  Then, when finished with the book, watch the movie "All Quiet on the Western Front."
 

Little Tramp

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Author: Sid Fleischman

Just as he did for Mark Twain and Harry Houdini, Sid Fleischman has written a novel-like biography.  This is a great option for a student assigned to read and report on a biography.  Charlie Chaplin lived a miserable life in London, son of a drunk father (questionable parenthood) and a mentally unstable mother, he and his brother were sent to live in the workhouse.  How he pulled himself out of this situation to become one of the best known comedic actors in the world is a great story.  We learn of Charlie's tumultuous relationships with family and business associates.  He never applied for US citizenship and ended his life in Switzerland because the US suspected him of being a communist in the 1950s.  After reading the book, I want to see if there are DVDs available of some of his silent film performances.

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Author: Ann Bausum

Ann Bausum has written some enlightening nonfiction recently, Denied, Detained, Deported and Freedom Riders to name just two. This book, Unraveling Freedom, not only explores another dark moment in American history, but really compares the events of early 20th century to the events of today. Just noticing the book's endpapers you can see parallels of history repeating itself, which we all know it tends to do. I can't wait to share it with my social studies teacher friends. Hopefully they can have great discussions in their classrooms about the balance of the needs for national security against the rights of individual citizaens, especially in times of war. National Geographic's marriage to Ann Bausum's work is one that I hope lasts a long, long time. Ann Bausum is from Beloit, WI.

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Author: Susan Bartoletti

Bartoletti does her homework.... even spending a weekend retreat with modern day KKK families.  Yes, families!  This is a tough subject.  Any northerner who has visited the south still sees remnants of the pain and suffering the South endured after the Civil War during the Reconstruction period.  Detailed and filled with first person narratives this book offers a glance back to an ugly time in our past.

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Author: Jeannine Atkins

I didn't expect to love this book.  Too bad about the cover :-( .... But, I found it fascinating.  Daughters, Rose Wilder Lane, A'Lelia Walker, and Irene Curie, are portrayed in relationships with their mothers and their mothers' successes through poetry.  We get a glimpse into the trials and joys of each relationship.  I learned so much about each of the mothers, too.  Did I mention I think the cover isn't too great?

Tale of Two Janises

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Author: Ann Angel

Great biography revealing two Janises - one desperate for acceptance and love, the other climbing to the top of the music world. Truly a pioneer for those to follow...Joan Jett, Patti Smith, even Lady Gaga.

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Author: David Adler

Any young person who may be struggling with social justice issues will find great inspiration in this biography of the abolitionist, Frederick Douglass.  As I read this book I wanted to write down quote after quote as I felt they pertained to today's struggles against our freedoms.  Any lover of biographies will appreciate the detailed research Adler put into this book.